Nets takeaways from Wednesday’s 129-121 win over Pacers, including Kyrie Irving’s impressive return

Kyrie Irving dribble white uniform no opponent

The Nets snapped a three-game losing streak, erasing a 19-point deficit to beat the Indiana Pacers 129-121 on Wednesday night.

Here are the key takeaways …

– After missing the team’s first 35 games due to his vaccination status, Kyrie Irving made his highly anticipated return on Wednesday night, starting alongside James Harden in the backcourt. With Kevin Durant also in the starting lineup, the Nets had their Big Three together for the first time this season.

– The Nets tried to get Irving going right off the bat. On the Nets’ first possession, Irving ended up taking a right elbow jumper as his first shot back, but it was off the mark. Irving went scoreless in his first six-minute run before taking the bench, missing his first two shots.

Meanwhile, Durant paced the Nets in the first, scoring 16 points, but Lance Stephenson, back with the Pacers on a 10-day contract, was on fire in the quarter, scoring a whopping 20 points on 8-of-9 shooting off the bench, leading Indy to a 37-32 lead after one.

– A minute into the second quarter, Irving got on the board, driving in and knocking down a jumper just inside the foul line for his first points of the season. From there, Irving started to cook, scoring the Nets’ first eight points of the quarter.

The Nets defense let them down in the second, allowing open shot after open shot as the Pacers pushed their lead into double digits. By halftime, Stevenson was up to 24 points, while Domantas Sabonis (18) and Keifer Sykes (12) were also in double digits. As a team, Indy shot 61.9 percent from the field, leading at the half, 73-60.

– By the early minutes of the third quarter, the Pacers’ lead was up to 17 points, but some nice two-way play from DeAndre’ Bembry helped cut the lead back to 12 with around seven minutes left in the quarter.

But the Nets’ interior defense continued to be porous, and the Pacers rebuilt their lead as a frustrated Durant picked up a technical. A few minutes later, Bembry picked up a technical of his own, and just like that, the Indy lead was back up to 17 points. Durant helped the Nets claw back to…

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